Written by Andrew Savory, Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Andre Ringuette
OTTAWA, ON – The Ravens women’s and men’s basketball programs continued their perfect starts to the 2017-18 OUA season on Friday, as both teams claimed their 19th wins of the campaign in a doubleheader sweep over the uOttawa Gee-Gees in the annual Capital Hoops Classic at the Canadian Tire Centre.
The Ravens came out flying in the first quarter, building an early 15-point lead, before withstanding several comeback attempts from the Gee-Gees to outlast Ottawa 57-41 in front of a raucous crowd at the Capital Hoops Classic inside the Canadian Tire Centre.
Third-year guard Cynthia Dupont (Coaticook, QC) was a steady presence for the Ravens throughout the game, hitting timely threes when Carleton needed it most. Dupont finished with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including two threes, while also grabbing five rebounds and snagging two steals.
“In the second quarter they made things tough and played more physical. But we rebounded after the half and came out aggressive to get some stops when it counted towards the end of the game,” Ravens head coach Taffe Charles said.
With an electric crowd of red, white and maroon on hand to cheer on a highly anticipated matchup between the Ravens and the Gee-Gees, Carleton managed to strike first and broke out to a quick 9-0 lead thanks to a conscious effort by the Ravens to find center Heather Lindsay (Ottawa, ON) down low early. Lindsay scored four of Carleton’s first nine points to help pace the Ravens. The lead ballooned to 21-9 midway through the opening frame thanks to some hot shooting from three-point territory. A three by forward Alyssa Cerino (Stoney Creek, ON) pushed the lead to 12 before guard Catherine Traer (Chelsea, QC) converted on three consecutive free throws to put Carleton ahead 24-9 entering the second quarter.
The Gee-Gees punched back to begin the second frame. Two straight jumpers from Angela Ribarich helped cue a quick 4-0 run for Ottawa. The Ravens struggled to regain their rhythm from the first quarter throughout the first five minutes of the second. Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu cleaned up her own miss on the offensive glass to bolster an 8-0 Ottawa spurt to open the quarter. Carleton didn’t score until the 4:24 mark of the quarter when Cerino hit her second three of the night. A series of turnovers committed by the Ravens hindered their ability to get going offensively throughout most of the second quarter, while also providing an opportunity for the Gee-Gees to get out in transition. The Gee-Gees outscored the Ravens 15-10 in the quarter and entered halftime trailing just 34-24.
Both teams got off to a stagnant start to commence the third quarter, combining for just two points in the first three and a half minutes of the frame until Dupont nailed a straightaway three-pointer to push the Ravens’ lead to 39-24. Amelie Hachey responded for the Gee-Gees, scoring five straight points to trim Carleton’s lead to 39-31. The pace of play slowed as Ottawa kept within striking distance over the course of the third quarter, managing to score eight points to Carleton’s nine.
The second-half’s brand of tightly contested play filtered into the final quarter. Freshman guard Madison Reid (Carleton Place, ON) got things started for the Ravens on a nice give-and-go with Traer. Ottawa answered thanks to a turnaround jumper from Aliisa Heiskanen that brought Carleton’s lead back down to eight with six minutes left in the game. But the narrow margin proved to be enough as the Ravens ended on the game on a 12-4 run, which was punctuated by a chase down block by forward Elizabeth Leblanc (London, ON) that helped seal an eventual 57-41 victory.
“We’re a veteran team and we talk a lot about sharing the basketball, but we got a lot of unselfish kids on the team and people need to be ready to pull the trigger. Tonight, we got slowed down a bit. They didn’t make things easy on us and we know that we’re in tough anytime we play Ottawa,” Charles said.
KEY GAME STATS:
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME
#14 Cynthia Dupont – Guard – 3rd year – Coaticook, QC
The Ravens were tested by the Gee-Gees early and often at the Canadian Tire Centre, but were able to wear Ottawa down before pulling ahead late to earn a 67-56 win and improve to 19-0.
Second-year forward Eddie Ekiyor (Ottawa, ON) was an efficient contributor off the bench, pouring in 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field to go along with 10 rebounds, a block and two steals in 27 minutes of action.
“We just wanted to stick to fundamentals, both offensively and defensively. We practice that every day and it was just a matter of translating it into the game tonight. I’m glad we pulled out the win,” said third-year guard Munis Tutu (Windsor, ON).
Thousands of fans on hand at the Canadian Tire Centre were treated to high-octane action to begin the second leg of the Capital Hoops Classic. The Gee-Gees were able to dictate play early courtesy a barrage of three-pointers. Ottawa shot 5-of-7 from distance in the first ten minutes as Brandon Robinson dropped a quick eight points, including two threes. A lay-in by Ekiyor kept the Ravens close early at 14-12, but Ottawa closed out the quarter up 18-12 following a late free throw from Chase Tynes.
The Ravens began to chip away at Ottawa’s lead early in the second quarter behind the gritty play of fourth-year forward Mitch Jackson (Regina, SK), who scored Carleton’s first four points of the frame with a nice hook shot on the inside and a pair of free throws a minute later. Jackson’s energetic play sparked the Ravens as guard Yasiin Joseph (Ottawa, ON) nailed a three-pointer to swing the lead in Carleton’s favour at 23-22 with 6:42 left in the second. Both teams traded baskets momentarily before Carleton went to work on the inside and took advantage of Ottawa’s lack of a presence in the post. Ekiyor, Joseph and fifth-year center Cam Smythe (Vancouver, BC) showed off their full arsenal throughout the latter half of the second with an array of drives that opened up space for easy scores in the paint. The Ravens outscored the Gee-Gees 23-12 in the second, including a buzzer beating pull-up from Tutu that closed out the half 35-30.
The game intensified in the third quarter as Carleton tried to break away, while Ottawa resisted the Ravens’ best attempts to push the lead to double digits. A three by Tutu brought the lead to 42-32, but the Gee-Gees edged back following yet another three from Robinson. Ottawa wasn’t done yet as Calvin Epistola picked off a pass by Joseph and took it all the way himself to trim the lead to two before Gage Sabean hit a three in transition to give Ottawa a 48-47 lead with 1:49 left in the third quarter. Fourth-year guard Mitch Wood (Guelph, ON) rallied for the Ravens by calmly hitting two straight jump shots to bolster a 51-48 Ravens lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Carleton entered the final frame clinging to a narrow lead. Joseph took matters into his own hands early, scoring six of Carleton’s first seven points in the fourth to cushion a seven-point margin. Third-year guard Stanley Mayambo (Fredericton, NB) added to the lead with a timely three with 4:40 left to play. Ekiyor followed suit by bruising his way into the lane for another two points. Ultimately, it was the Ravens’ defence that sealed the Gee-Gees’ fate in front of a crowd of 8,579 roaring fans. Carleton outscored Ottawa 16-8 in the fourth to put its stamp on a 67-56 victory.
“The atmosphere was great. I love these kinds of big games where everyone in Ottawa can come out and enjoy some good basketball. It was good for the city,” Tutu added.
KEY GAME STATS:
RAVENS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
#42 Eddie Ekiyor – Forward – 2nd year – Ottawa, ON
PHOTOGRAPHS BY VALERIE WUTTI: